The History of Espresso

Espresso HistoryDeriving from the Italian culture, Espresso is a type of coffee that uses a minuscule amount of force to push boiling water (or steam) through coffee beans that have been finely grounded. It’s differences from coffee stem not only through the thickness but also the concentration, as well as the thick consistency of foam. The foam settled on top of espresso is usually that of a cream consistency, whereas other drinks have a lighter, airier cream consistency foam on top. Espresso is also the base of many drinks include a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, mocha, flat white, or Americano.

The drink itself was created in the 1880’s, right before the first machine prototype was created in 1884 by Angelo Moriando. The word Espresso derives from the idea that the coffee is made express – to order like fast food is nowadays. Because of this, there has been a great debate over if the word is “espresso” or “expresso”. So which one is it?

Expresso vs. Espresso

Is “expresso” an acceptable variant of the world? Unfortunately, it’s not, where you learned it that way or think it makes sense because it’s an “express” drink. The style of “expresso” is not used in the original Italian language, where the drink and first machines were created. The Oxford Dictionary of American usage and Style also describes this version of the word wrong, leaving Espresso the clear winner in this case.

The Man, the Myth, the Legend – Angelo Moriando

Inventor of the Espresso MachineAs mentioned, the first prototype was patented in 1884 by Angelo Moriando (No. 33/256), right after the popularity of the espresso drink began to rise. This machine needed improvements, however, as the machine itself was unlike true machines that we have today. The machine was a bulk type of brewer and didn’t target individual customer needs in an express manner. However, in 1901, a man named Luigi Bezzera changed that. Yes, the creator of the Bezzera espresso machines that are so wildly popular today.

Bezzera came up with a number of improvements for Angelo’s machine and patented the best of the best he had created. The patents were registered on December 19th, 1901. Even though these patents weren’t granted until June 5th, 1902, it took more than three years for them to be bought. The man who bought those? Desiderio Pavoni, the founder of the famous La Pavoni machines. After this, his company began to manufacture these industrially in a workshop called Via Parini, located in Milan, Italy.

Other Regions of the World

It wasn’t until the 1950’s that espresso became popular in other parts of the world. Espresso became a hit in the 1950’s in the United Kingdom because people felt more at home and more welcome in coffee shops versus the usual pub (aka public houses). After all, not everyone wants to be around drinking, and an espresso would suffice.

An artisanal culture of coffee developed later on in the 70’s and 80’s, spreading like wildfire at this point. Then, in the 1980’s and 90’s, brands like Starbucks started to pick up on this momentum. Even though Starbucks didn’t pick this up until recently on our timeline, there was a popular latte drink that was invented by Link Meiorin of Cafe Mediterraneum in Berkeley, California, but it was then popularized in Seattle during the decades of 1950 through 1970. After this, Starbucks picked up on it and has been in motion ever since.

Thanks to Angelo Moriando, large espresso brands like Bezzera, La Pavoni, and even Starbucks may not be in existence or doing well. One patent changed and shaped the world of coffee houses and most importantly, espresso.